John Holsheimer, convicted in fatal crash that killed Ramona mom Bridget Hale, among those arrested
By Miriam Raftery
March 20, 2012 (Las Vegas)-- Last week, federal authorities arrested 19 suspects in nine states as part of Operation "Open Market," an investigation into a transnational criminal organization operating mainly out of Las Vegas. According to a press release from Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), crime ring's members bought and sold stolen personal and financial information online, then committed identity theft and counterfeit credit card trafficking.
One San Diegan was among those arrested: John Holsheimer, 53. He is charged with conspiracy, trafficking in and production of false identification documents--including the forged driver's license that he presented to California Highway Patrol the night he crashed head-on into Bridgette Hale of Ramona on Highway 67, killing the young mother.
He is also charged with aiding and abetting, trafficking, production and use of counterfeit access devices.
In November 2010, John Holsheimer was sentenced to a maximum of 300 days in jail, plus probation, community service, fines and drug rehabilitation for killing Ramona resident Bridgette Hale, mother of an infant son. According to multiple witnesses, Holsheimer was driving on the wrong side of the road before striking Hale’s vehicle in a head-on collision January 26, 2010 on Highway 67 while on his way home from Barona Casino.
Hale’s family has long contended that Holsheimer should have been required to under blood testing for drugs and alcohol. Because CHP did not order testing, the District Attorney could charge Holsheimer only with a misdemeanor, not a felony. Family members viewed the matter as a travesty of justice.
Ken Vanek, brother-in-law of Hale, shared his reaction with ECM upon learning of Holsheimer’s arrest on the federal charges. He expressed “hats off” appreciation to Homeland Security, ICE and the Secret Service, and expressed hope that justice would be done by seeing Holsheimer “going away for a long time.”
An ECM investigation into Hale’s death turned up many red flags and questions regarding Holsheimer. According to CHP records, he gave officers a fake I.D., a Nevada driver’s license identifying him as John Hallaway.
Federal court records issued in March 2012 indicate Holsheimer is accused of trafficking in and producing a Nevada driver’s license in the name of John Hallaway, bearing Holsheimer’s picture, among other offenses.
Holsheimer later told officers that he made up the last name and claimed he did so to get a job because he’d been unable to get employment due to his past history.
However, Nevada records indicate John R. Holsheimer was charged in September 2009 with using forged credit cards and paid a $3,000 bond, according to WhosArrested.com. (Nevada court records were not immediately available to determine whether he was cleared or convicted, as those records are not online.) He had also faced a string of other civil legal issues including multiple small claims court cases and tax liens filed against him. In San Bernadino, Court records indicate John Reinier Holsheimer was also convicted and paid a fine for previously crossing a double yellow line in a May 20, 2001 infraction.
John Reiner Holsheimer is currently in federal prison in San Diego, ECM news partner 10 News has confirmed.
Operation “Open Market” was a massive and well-coordinated operation involveing numerous agencies. Agents with the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) arrested five people in Las Vegas Thursday and another 14 people in California, Florida, New York, Georgia, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio and West Virginia. Their charges include racketeering, conspiracy, and production and trafficking in false identification documents and access device cards. A total of 50 individuals were charged in the investigation; however, the names of several defendants have been redacted and remain sealed because they have not yet been arrested.
"The extent of the theft and sale of personal and financial information uncovered by this investigation is astonishing," said U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden. "Electronic mediums have made it much easier for persons and groups to sell and trade stolen information and fraudulent documents nationally and internationally. We are working vigilantly with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute the persons who commit these types of crimes."
"The indictments and arrests in this case are yet another example of how the Secret Service continues to promote the Department of Homeland Security's mission of providing a safe, secure and resilient cyber environment," said A.T. Smith, the Secret Service's assistant director for investigations. "The successful partnerships fostered by the Secret Service's electronic crimes task forces result in ground-breaking investigations such as Operation Open Market."
"The actions of computer hackers and identity thieves not only harm countless innocent Americans, but the threat they pose to our financial system and global commerce cannot be understated," said James Dinkins, executive associate director of ICE HSI. "The criminals involved in such schemes may think they can escape detection by hiding behind their computer screens here and overseas, but as this case shows, cyberspace is not a refuge from justice."
This investigation is being conducted by the U.S. Secret Service and HSI with substantial support provided by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Computer Crimes Division. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kimberly M. Frayn and Andrew W. Duncan.
This law enforcement action was facilitated by President Obama's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The interagency Task Force wages aggressive and coordinated efforts to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The Task Force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement that collectively bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources.
Defendants in Operation 'Open Market' are as follows:
Maceo Boozer III,23, Detroit
Edward Montecalvo,20 Morgantown, W. Va.
Jermaine Smith 31, Newark, N.J.
Makyl Haggerty**,22,San Francisco
Qasir Mukhtar, 17,New York
Michael Lofton, 34, Las Vegas
Shiyang Gou, 27, New York
David Ray Camez, 20, Las Vegas
Cameron Harrison**, 25, Augusta, Ga.
Duvaughn Butler, 37, Las Vegas
Fredrick Thomas, 31, Orlando, Fla.
Omar Butt, 18, New York
Billy Steffey,33 Sacramento, Calif.
Jason Maclaskey**, 32 Springfield, Mo., Orlando
Derek Carder, 38,Sacramento
Robert Kephart, 38, Sacramento
Heather Dale**, 21, Springfield, Orlando
Herbert Morrell, 50, Orlando
Thomas Lamb, 47, Las Vegas
Jonathan Vergnetti,40 Las Vegas
Roger Grodesky, 49, Warren, Ohio
John Holsheimer, 53, San Diego
All defendants named above, except those marked with **, have been arrested.